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Inpatient psychiatric pavilion opens in Glen Oaks

North Shore-LIJ Health System President Michael Dowling (l. to r.) and Chairman Richard Goldstein (second from l.) give a photograph to trustees Barbara and Donald Zucker at an opening celebration of a new behavioral health pavilion at the Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks. Photo by Phil Corso
TimesLedger Newspapers

Cathie LeMaire, who once suffered from severe depression, was smiling ear to ear Friday to be part of the opening celebration of a new Behavioral Health Pavilion at the Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks.

“The care I received here is what makes this such a special place,” said Huntington, L.I., resident LeMaire, who first became a patient at the Zucker Hillside Hospital in 2009 and has since reported significant progress. “It is in a class by itself. Now I feel restored, have my life back, and can feel all emotions.”

The hospital celebrated the new 130,000-square-foot, $120 million inpatient pavilion with support from North Shore-LIJ Health System trustees Donald and Barbara Zucker as well as other donors. The new pavilion will consolidate the outdated living quarters spread throughout the psychiatric facility’s campus, upgrading both the coordination of services and treatment, North Shore-LIJ said.

Administrators from both the Zucker Hillside Hospital and North Shore-LIJ spoke to a crowded lobby inside the new two-story pavilion to usher in a new beginning at the Glen Oaks campus. North Shore-LIJ President and CEO Michael Dowling spoke of the importance of mental health facilities such as the Zucker Hillside Hospital.

“Many groups are giving up with these kinds of services. We embrace it,” Dowling said. “There have been many milestones in the 85-year history of Zucker Hillside Hospital, but the opening of this 115-bed inpatient pavilion represents a transformation on a grand scale, not only in terms of the physical infrastructure, but in our ability to provide a full continuum of care to our behavioral health clients.”

The facility will help facilitate the continued treatment of behavioral health disorders, which affect nearly half of the population and account for more disability and missed work days than any other illness, according to John Kane, chairman of psychology at Zucker Hillside Hospital. According to Kane, updating the facilities in Glen Oaks allows the hospital to meet the needs of the often-overlooked patient population and improve its reputation as a center for behavioral health care in the state.

“Psychiatric illness and addiction cause heartache and alter lives,” Kane said. “Their devastating impact scars families for generations. This new pavilion will help us treat these disorders to change that, healing families and returning people to society’s mainstream.”

The new pavilion will be equipped with three units totaling 56 beds for adults suffering from depression, mood and affective disorders as well as substance abuse, a 21-bed adolescent unit and two geriatric units with a total of 38 beds for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, related dementia and other psychiatric disorders, North Shore-LIJ said. Inside the new pavilion will also be an Electroconvulsive Therapy Suite — known as ECT — which patients like LeMaire said have helped her turn her life around.

“It has literally changed my life,” LeMaire said. “Zucker Hillside has allowed me to get back to my life, back to my old self, and back to living. It is priceless.”

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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